I nearly spit out my tequila, but that would be a criminal act.
BwB didn’t start there. That’s where she ended after drying the tears which fell while she was reading Mr. Perfect Timing’s letter. When I told her about the first time we got together not in sweat soaked gym clothes she was happy for me and said, Take your time, love. But after reading the letter and looking into my eyes, her message changed from go slow to be fearless.
Didn’t I just wrap being fearless on Mt. Rainier?
Not really. I was game, ready for her, stoked to be out of my comfort zone, but I wasn’t fearless on the mountain. Pft. You should have seen me trying to climb up the snow wall on the last day. You would have laughed your harness off.
I moved through feeling fearful. Talked my way out of it while my skin crawled at the sound of crampons on rock. I was aware of feeling fear and put it in its proper place as we descended from the Camp Muir ridge in a storm. I put fear just over there where it couldn’t run the show, out of fear of being consumed by fear.
Maybe it should have been called the Fearless Prep Course instead of the Denali Prep Course.
But still…for three years I have not been tested when it comes to matters of the heart. I’ve side-stepped them every time. But this time I didn’t want to dart away. I wanted to stay.
I want to stay.
That night, after downing guacamole and tequila and more guacamole, I lay in bed and thought about posts written in the past on relationships and love and not getting lost in someone but holding their hand lightly, ready to let go if need be. I was so sure then I could do it. That there wasn’t a chance I would fall back on past bad habits. That I wouldn’t wish for a happy ending but stay firmly present in the moment, wishing for nothing. Just experiencing what was happening fully. I wouldn’t run ahead and look around in wonder at what could be or wince at how it could all implode. Instead, I would observe. In the moment. I wouldn’t get anxious at the thought of being rejected but enjoy the unknown, believing that it is my creation, by design, to accomplish the goals I have set for my human self as a soul.
I had pondered and written and read comment after comment about staying on my path and when I was truly happy alone, in love with myself, I would attract the right partner. One that I didn’t have to tie down. No statement of monogamy. No labeling. No marriage.
Being in a relationship was not a focus in all those months post Pocket Call. I wanted to be alone. Occasional encounters were appreciated. Wonderful. They helped me to open up slowly, have a little adult fun. A very necessary thing when dealing with divorce. And those encounters gave me an opportunity to experiment with some theories we were developing together here at HGM.
But it was my time alone that I cherished most. It was during those times that I bonded and fell back in love with myself.
So when Mr. Perfect Timing sat across from me on his deck and opened his storybook I wasn’t the least bit hesitant to picture a page with my face on it. Because I knew there would be other pages with other faces. I would be happy just to be in the book. We’d enjoy the time we had together. Zero agenda. No place to rush off to. If he veered left and I jogged right it would all be okay. Every once in a while I’d rise up on the crest of a hill and look over to his path and smile. If he was holding the hand of another it wouldn’t cause my heart to thud, my stomach to flip. I’d trust that he was meant to hold her hand and that I was meant to continue on, as is.
The Female Version of The World’s Most Interesting Man.
Yea. Not so much.
Which is NO surprise to you all.
My heart is too full of love. My curiosity about deeply committed relationships – how to get there, how to nurture them, how to keep them robust and full of heat – simply can’t pull that off. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I’d feel like a poser. A shape shifter. All Ego, no soul.
The character traits I respect – vulnerability, honesty, loyalty, integrity, and my total distaste for small talk and casual sex, eliminate me from the gene pool for The Female Version of The World’s Most Interesting Man. My quest to couple up with a Spiritually Evolved Man Whore is as counter to me as the phrase Spiritually Evolved is to the phrase Man Whore. I was all talk when I said that.
Let me state for the record what you kittens have known all along: I am a total romantic, a lover, a half a couple just waiting for the other half to arrive.
I remember every moment of that day on Mt. Tam when I asked the Universe for someone I could fall in love with and Mr. Perfect Timing texted me three miles later. Hence the name.
But it doesn’t fully fit. You see, the timing is off. He’s unraveling his role in some past relationships which holds the key to the success of the one he wants most of all – the marriage that will last for the rest of his days.
You read me right. I typed marriage.
Before my cocktail was drained that night on his deck he told me that he wants to get married. It’s a priority in his life. He feels a clock ticking – his mortality clock. He doesn’t want to spend these days alone.
That Universe – so funny. HAHAHAHAHA.
She sends me a man who isn’t ready to be in a relationship but once he IS ready it’s going to be a marriage.
Next time I’m going to be a lot more specific.
While I poke fun at the Universe, I am, of course, pondering this set of circumstances to see why I created them.
Mr. Perfect Timing is shiny times 10. Shiny career, shiny house, shiny car, shiny life, shiny body, shiny, shiny, shiny. All that made me want to doubt his sincerity and be his friend, not his conquest. I wanted to put a blindfold on my heart and let my Ego tell me the fifty reasons why I should run away over and over again until I could hear my own feet hitting the pavement over the beating of my blinded heart.
Mr. Perfect Timing is also loving, honest, intelligent, creative, wildly funny, caring, confident, insightful, loyal and willing to go the distance with me on long, meandering conversations about the things we speak of here at HGM. There are two other qualities about him that I adore – he’s got the perfect amount of chick in him, and he’s bald. Goodness, I just love the bald. And a little chick in a guy means we’ve got some common ground.
Put all that in the blender and I’ve got myself quite a potent love cocktail. And this is where it gets all serious. If I let it.
I’m in a tug of war with my Ego. She wants to make this a somber time. Hold my cards close to my chest so I don’t get hurt. Be coy so I don’t scare him away. Maybe I need to be sexier or funnier or smarter or better at just about everything. You can’t get involved with him, he’s not perfect. He wants to get married. He WAS married. Twice. C’mon, Cleo. Go back to your little town on the edge of land and stop inserting yourself into these situations that will only serve to complicate your life.
That Ego just keeps pulling on the rope trying to get me to fall to my knees, so tired that I give in to her thoughts and make them my own.
Not going to happen. With a flick of my wrist I launch her into outer space. None of this is going to freak me out.
All this talk of shape shifting to snag another reminds me of a conversation I had with Mr. Jumpshot about Victoria Secret padded bras. He had a simple question: How can I NOT be disappointed when I take it off of her?
I’ve spent the last three years unearthing my authentic self. That process has unlocked a hallway of doors each leading to extraordinary people and experiences. I KNOW I’m on the right path because it feels right. And because the opportunities are ones I’ve dreamed of since I was a child. Mainly I know I’m on the right path because I’m not scared. I’m not scared of falling in love. I’m not scared of not having those feelings reciprocated. I did get scared for a minute at the thought of making him dinner for the first time. Until I realized that I’m 48 not 23. I’ve cooked a slew of dinners. GET OVER IT, Ego.
What I need is time, even though I don’t want to take my time. I need time to have fun. With him. Time to let our relationship unroll like a soft carpet down an aisle, not like a bed sheet snapped to cover all the corners. I need to slow down without slowing down out of fear, but instead slowing down to be as vulnerable as possible. As open and courageous as I can be. And I get to be all that with a man who is going through the same process I went through the last 2 years. I get to witness in real time his self-excavation. I get to see if he falls in love with himself.
Writing this post was a challenging process. I’ve had to let go of so much in the past several weeks. I’ve let go of the extreme mountaineering persona and the World’s Most Interesting Woman persona. Soon, I will let go of my Mom’s hand.
I’m feeling totally naked.
Thank you for your patience. Heading back East to be with Mom. The champagne and oyster parties are over. Now we gather quietly to be with her – my siblings, grandchildren, cousins…and Mr. Perfect Timing.